Meet the Miu Miu Collectors Seeking Y2K Maximalist Archival Pieces

When Miu Miu’s fall 2024 collection hit the runway in Paris on March 5, 2024 it was like peeking into the label’s whimsical, over-the-top past. There were knee-length skirts in neon green or purple floral prints; mandarin and mustard-yellow chunky, oversize gloves; and shift dresses accessorized with metal flowers—all of which felt more like the maximalist Miu Miu styles of the mid 2010s.

Over the past few years, Miuccia Prada has traded that colorful, super-layered look for a stark approach to minimalism. But on the final day of fashion month for the fall 2024 season, everywhere you looked, there were hints of Mrs. Prada’s deep-seated quirkiness at Miu Miu—little strands of pearls and cool-girl sunglasses recalled that bygone brand aesthetic, which was defined by mixed prints, endless embellishment, and girlish details with a strikingly weird undercurrent. The show notes cited “a vocabulary of clothing, from childhood to adulthood.”

That feeling of nostalgia is a potent draw to a brand like Miu Miu—whose fan base could be described as cult-like. So many have been lifelong followers of the label, and recall that maximalist era between 2000 and 2018 as being Miu Miu’s very best. As a result, in recent years, a community of Miu Miu lovers who follow—and shop from—this period in particular has emerged. They trawl through pages and pages of secondhand and resale sites or rifle through racks at the outlets, seeking their holy grails: a dragonfly-shaped cutout leather bag from spring 2008, or the transparent, jelly-like raincoats and glittering tinsel jackets from fall 2014. (For the record, I am among this group of Miu Miu enthusiasts, and I own those three aforementioned pieces…plus too many more to count.)

A look from Miu Miu’s fall 2024 ready-to-wear runway show at Paris Fashion Week.

Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

A look from Miu Miu’s fall/winter 2014-2015 collection.

Photo by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage

“What I love about archive Miu Miu is its rarity factor and the pre-logomania aspect of it,” says Gisela Castillo, a Miu Miu collector who is particularly interested in some of the most glitzed-up pieces—crystal ear cuffs, a pink polo printed with parrots and crystal cats from spring 2014, or fluffy pink-and-white Muppet boots from fall 2017. “Wearing old Miu Miu feels like a cute secret one shares with a select few. I find today’s Miu Miu still holds some remnants of past collections, however, there now seems to be a soft restraint that captivates minimalists. As for me, the bolder, the older, the better!”

Gisela Castillo models some of her Miu Miu grails.

Courtesy of Gisela Castillo
Courtesy of Gisela Castillo

Perhaps one of the reasons why 2000s and mid 2000s Miu Miu resonates so deeply with so many people is because of just how formative the brand was. Take, for instance, Mackenzie Fitzgerald, a Millennial who grew up in Iowa during the aughts, dreaming over’s runway photos. At 14, she spied Miu Miu’s spring 2005 collection for the first time. It was unlike anything she’d ever seen in the familiar world of her local shopping mall. The clothes contained a point of view. “During this time, it was the height of Y2K,” she recalls. “Juicy Couture was the vibe. Abercrombie & Fitch by Bruce Weber was the norm, at least in middle America. And becoming more womanly meant being more overtly sexy, wearing tight, low-rise denim or blingy velour sweatsuits. But Miu Miu pushed away from that and showed me there was a whole other kind of womanhood that wasn’t necessarily about showing skin.”

For others, the special stories behind these now hard-to-find pieces spark joy. Collector Viv Chenbought a pair of vintage Miu Miu brogues on eBay; when she couldn’t identify their runway season, she inquired with the seller, who told her they’d purchased the shoes at the Miu Miu SoHo shop in the 1990s through Naomi Campbell’s personal collection. “Another time, I purchased an early 2000s jacket from a woman in Italy and in the package along with the jacket there was a postcard of Maggie Rizer modeling the exact garment on the runway with a handwritten note,” Chen adds.

Chen also collects shoes and purses from 1999. “I love the mix of sporty, techno-futurist and feminine design elements—like the butterfly bow knots characteristic of the fall 1999 collection,” she says. Likewise, Fitzgerald is obsessed with the spring 2008 collection—her ultimate grail was the pink babydoll dress. “I became obsessed with finding the harlequin print and Lisolette Watkins-illustrated pieces from the collection, which ultimately piqued my interest in collecting in the first place,” she says. “I searched nearly every day for the pink babydoll dress, and I finally found it at a vintage shop in Paris in 2020 using Google Image Search. It’s not even the right size for me, but I’ve never run for my debit card so quickly.”

For me, the appeal of vintage Miu Miu lies in its indelible charm, which is filtered through a woman’s point of view for women. The dreamy prints, the delicious cuts, the otherworldly textures and colors—Miu Miu in the mid 2000s was the original girl’s-girl brand, tied to a rare kind of expressive femininity that’s also slightly dark and cerebral. I still remember the very first Miu Miu item I purchased—a piece that I saved, and saved, and saved for—when I was in college: a pair of metallic heeled loafers with a bow, the bottoms of the soles coated in chunky silver glitter. I wore them until the soles fell off and a hole wore into the heel, rendering them nearly beyond repair. To this day, I still feel a connection to the experience of girlhood and adolescence in those shoes.

And yet, I’m constantly thinking about the maximalist Miu Miu pieces that I will probably never stop chasing. An abridged list includes: the pink leather coat with black-cat patches from spring 2014, a collaboration with illustrator Jeanne Detallante (or the pink wool coat printed with the same black cat’s face. I’ll take what I can get); the neon-yellow, polka-dot coat with a pink fluffy collar from fall 2013; or one of the harlequin-themed kaleidoscopic babydoll dresses from spring 2008. I could tell you about more of my maximalist Miu Miu white whales, but we’d be here all day. (What I will tell you is that I have saved searches on every secondhand retailer platform I can think of.) The fall 2024 collection may have given fans a little taste of this extravagant era, but we diehards will never stop searching for the original whimsical grails from yesteryear.

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